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Defining Sustainability

Time:  50-minute lesson with optional extension

Lesson description: This lesson is comprised of a sustainability definition, brainstorming activity and an interconnectedness movement activity. The activities will enable students to define sustainability and understand how to connect global issues to each other and the pillars of sustainability: environment, society, and economy. The objectives for each activity may be accomplished when activities are performed together or individually.

Suggested subject areas: All subjects

Lesson components and descriptions:

Defining Sustainability Lesson Plan Gives an overview of the lesson and separate step-by-step guides for each activity. (PDF)

Spaceship Introduction to Sustainability

Time: 50-minute lesson

Lesson description: This lesson provides a brief introduction to the subject of sustainability and sustainability science: why it is needed, what it encompasses, and what it means. Through participation in this simple spaceship activity, students will develop an understanding of what a sustainable society might look like, gain some insight into why our current society is not meeting the challenges it faces, and understand why we need new ways of thinking to solve problems.

Suggested subject areas:All sciences, economics, engineering, social studies, art and design

Lesson components and descriptions:

Spaceship Introduction Lesson Plan Gives an overview of the unit along with step-by-step instructions for the activity. (PDF)

Spaceship Introduction Handouts Includes instructions for the activity (for student teams) along with a chart for determining the physical and social systems to be represented on their spaceship. (PDF)

Spaceship Introduction Presentation An introductory presentation that describes the definition of sustainability, presents the three pillars of sustainability. (PDF)

Adapting a Lesson for Sustainability Content

Time:  depends on length of existing lesson

Lesson description: This worksheet is a “how to” for adaptation of an existing lesson to include content relating to sustainability.

Suggested subject areas: All subjects

Lesson components and descriptions: per existing lesson, with potential for new components to be added based on sustainability content  (PDF)